a peek inside the fishbowl

10 Aug, 2018

Silent Lake 2018: last post!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

It’s been a busy week! The highlights: I got to fly on a vintage WWII bomber and Mark and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a little staycation.

I want to share one last post about this summer’s camping trip to Silent Lake. (You can read part one and two first if you like.)

One of my favourite things to do while we’re camping is rent a canoe or kayak. When the girls were small we always got a canoe, but when the girls were a bit older we upgraded to kayaks. Personally, I prefer the kayaks. They’re lighter and easier to paddle and steer. With one stroke it seems you get a lot farther in a kayak than you would a canoe. And if you’re paddling with others, there’s no getting annoyed with someone dragging their paddle in the water or not pulling their weight. ;)

Silent Lake does not permit motorized boats, so being on the water is especially, delightfully, tranquil.

Silent Lake kayak

Water-based highlights at Silent Lake include a lovely little island that you can paddle up to and explore. It didn’t take us long to make our way here. I’m glad we stopped to explore, because it’s a special kind of place.

Exploring Silent Lake by kayak

There’s a memorial bench on this island. It’s such a thoughtful way to remember someone, isn’t it? The inscription is dedicated to Alison Jayne Edwards. We were born in the same year and I’ve been wondering who she was. I Googled but didn’t find anything. Maybe you know?

(Click the photo to enlarge it and read the inscription.) 

Island memorial on Silent Lake

This is the view from her bench. It really is lovely.

The view from the bench, Silent Lake

For reference, here are a couple of photos from the previous time our family paddled to this same island, in 2006:

It's too tight!

destination: blueberry island

Here’s my eldest then:


… and here she is now:

Exploring Silent Lake by kayak

She doesn’t need us to paddle her around in a big canoe anymore. She moves on her own steam!

Here’s the youngest, exploring the growth near the shoreline:

Stuck in the reeds

I promised to write about some of the critters we met during our stay at Silent Lake.

The top spot goes to the raccoon that tried to get inside our tent.

I was in a deep sleep when suddenly our inflatable mattress turned into a trampoline. I was practically launched into the air when I realized that the reason why this was happening was because Mark was leaping out of bed.

The stillness of the night was punctuated with words no one ever wants to hear while camping: “THERE IS SOMEONE TRYING TO GET INTO OUR TENT.”

I should backtrack a moment and describe our tent, so you have the full picture. A few years ago we upgraded our old tent for a newer, larger model to accommodate our growing teenage girls. We all needed more space, so the new tent has a front “hall,” a big middle part, and two smaller areas (meant to be bedrooms) off each side. I’m quite happy with this arrangement because everyone has space for their sleeping bag and gear. The front entry is for our shoes and backpacks.

There’s a zippered panel, in other words, a wall, between the three sleeping areas and the front hall. This was zipped closed (thank god) when this was all going down.

Mark unzipped the panel, peered into the front part of our tent, and came face-to-face with a medium-sized raccoon. I’m thinking it was a rebellious teen raccoon, and it was indeed, inside our tent. He probably smelled an empty pepperoni stick wrapper that ended up amid the shoes by mistake. Let that be a lesson kids!

The second animal encounter was with a snapping turtle. Our site was a 30-second walk to the water’s edge, which was a very nice place to sit on the rocks and look out over the water.

Short walk to the water from the site

Someone tried fishing too close to the trees

The girls went down there to launch their inflatable rafts. Well, to make a long story short, the eldest came very close to stepping on the biting part of a snapping turtle. One more step, apparently, and her big toe may have been a little snack for a hungry turtle.

Thankfully, the other living things we met were quite harmless, and included frogs, a garter snake, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and a friendly dragonfly on the beach:

A dragonfly in the hand is worth...

This trip was a shorter than our usual camping trips and I was sad to pack up and leave Silent Lake. I think we’ll have to come back.

4 Responses to "Silent Lake 2018: last post!"

1 | Splake

August 10th, 2018 at 10:08 am


One big tent or two small? Hm? 2 small is better, me thinks. Views?

2 | andrea tomkins

August 10th, 2018 at 10:33 am


I’m happy to have the one tent! This particular site wasn’t big enough to accommodate two tents, even two smaller ones. The view at this site was lovely – mostly trees – although the lake is close by.

3 | K

July 21st, 2020 at 8:49 pm


Alison was a wonderful friend. She loved nature and having fun with friends and family. I miss her even all these years later. She’s be delighted you have made year-over-year trips to enjoy a place that she loved too. She died of cancer. Though she’d have been happy if you made up a ghost story instead.

4 | Dean Prentice

October 2nd, 2022 at 2:34 pm


Enjoyed reading your stories, having recently visited Silent lake and taking some time to take in the view from the memorial bench I too wondered who Alison was. I found an obituary that matches her dates when I googled her name. It is a shame that cancer took this young soul too early but her loved ones have given her a place of true beauty to reflect on her short life.
Hope this helped if you hadn’t found her yet.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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